Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 38425
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2017/12/16 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
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2005/7/5-6 [Recreation/Computer/Games] UID:38425 Activity:nil
7/5     Dang it.  If you had asked me this morning, I would've said there
        was nothing that could possibly make me want an XBox 360.
        http://csua.org/u/cm4
        \_ You should get yourself a Clavilux!
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csua.org/u/cm4 -> blogs.guardian.co.uk/games/archives/2005/07/05/jeff_minter_vs_xbox_360_how_microsoft_bought_the_light_synth_vision.html#more
Llamasoft homepage for a detailed history), may well have finally brought him in line with mainstream thinking. At a time when console manufacturers are desperate for their latest machines to be appreciated as allround audiovisual ente rtainment centres rather than just games machines (Nintendo excluded, of course), Microsoft is embedding Neon, the latest version of Minter's hy pnotic light synth software, onto the Xbox 360. As the concept of what actually constitutes a game evolves i n the digital, high-defintion, music-streaming, movie downloading, broad band era, tools like this will become more commonplace and more accepted - you can see this in everything from Sing Star to Elektroplankton. Per haps Minter's light 'games' didn't make much sense to mainstream users t en years ago, but now, with our huge HD LCD displays and Dolby Digital E X surround sound systems, they'll become another form of casual interact ive entertainment. announced J Allard rejected cla ims that the console was intended as a self-contained hub for all forms of digital media, but he does want it to be seen as a 'digital amplifier ' - a means of getting streaming music, video, etc, from a PC or MP3 pla yer to your home theatre set-up. Anyway, I recently got a few questions to Minter about the Xbox 360 versi on of Neon, and here's what he had to say. It basically happened because a certain well-connected friend of mine rea lly liked what we were doing here with VLM3 on the Gamecube, and brought someone from MS here to see. He in turn got very enthusiastic, and went back to MS and began bending ears. It took a fair bit of prodding and s ending of demos but eventually it progressed to the point where I got ho ld of a devkit. Curiously enough I heard that J Allard had actually been interested in my doing some work for the original Xbox, and the only reason I didn't hea r about that was an email gone astray. We have been using Xbox360 alpha dev kits (which are based on a dual-G5 p latform). What does it offer to those developers - like yourself- who aren't looking to create GTA/Meta l Gear/Splinter Cell beaters? I really like the hardware - especially important to us is the monster sh ader performance. Typically in the kind of work I'll be doing, you want a lot of computational power available for generating effects and meshes procedurally in realtime, and the X360 delivers a hell of a lot of grun t in that area. I think the ability to explore procedural methods is imp ortant to people like me who don't want to use teams of artists producin g literal textures and pre-defined models, but wish to explore the more abstract possibilities afforded by generative methods. Microsoft go on quite a lot about this being a machine with no bottleneck s, nothing inhibiting performance - would you agree with that from your experience? Well, we were working with alpha hardware and still managed to achieve st aggering performance with just that, and the alpha kits probably operate at only about 30 percent of the capacity of the final hardware. I'm rea lly looking forward to doing more on final hardware and really pushing t he thing as hard as we can. We've mainly been pushing the shader stuff in Neon - there is an awful lo t of per-pixel calculation going on in some of the Neon effects. In term s of actual geometry generation Neon's not that demanding being in the dashboard we have to coexist with the rest of the OS and can't use it a ll up for ourselves. Will they be able to plug in an iPod, then control things via joypad? Neon is controlled with up to four controllers simultaneously. Each user controls certain aspects of each effect using the analog sticks and the d-pad and buttons. Any layers not controlled by users are controlled by an audio-driven "autopilot" system. The 360 will be able to utilise a va riety of different audio sources, and any of those sources can be used t o drive Neon. How has your vision of the light synth evolved for Xbox 360? What specifi c new features have you been able to introduce or finally realise? Neon finally realises an idea I have had since 1990 for doing a truly mod ular lightsynth, in which it is possible to construct effects by simply plugging modules together, with subsequent modules taking input from pre vious modules - it's very versatile and is the visual equivalent of the software synthesisers popular in music right now. Until the x360, consum er-level hardware was simply not powerful enough to really implement suc h a thing properly. Neon in the x360 finally implements and proves the c oncept, and yields an extraordinary amount of versatility from a very sm all amount of code (you could fit several copies of Neon on an old flopp y disk). As games consoles become more a part of the (lord help us) 'digital home entertainment hub' do you think there will be more and more room for app lications like Neon? When the x360 is installed as the media hub then users w ill be doing far more with it than just running games. I know that as so on as I get mine it'll be hooked up to my music server and my plasma tel ly and I'll never again listen to music at home without a lightsynth acc ompaniment. I am sure that many more non-game applications will emerge a s game consoles transition into media hubs. Do any recently current games interest you as a programmer/gamer? I like things that attempt to create different styles more than those that simply attempt to generate ever greater amou nts of realism (although I like those too). Things like Rez with its dis tinctive Tron stylings and linking of in-game events, Katamari Damacy wh ich is simply one of the finest games of recent years and pure joy to pl ay, and work like Toshio Iwai's Elektroplankton on the Nintendo DS, whic h to me almost feels like the musical parallel of what I've been trying to do with my lightsynths over the years. I'd love to collaborate with I wai some day and do a project involving his generative music stuff and m y own Neon graphics synthesis technology. I'd managed to convince myself I didn't need an X360 in a hurry. It's far, far more enticing than any of th e games announced so far. What I want to know is- did his gamecube project thingy (which some of us were looking forward to rather a lot, even if we can't remember the nam e) fall through because it wasn't going to work out (which is basically the official story) or because some guy from Microsoft turned up and sai d "We'll have that if you don't mind?" Neon was one of the main things pointing me in the direction of the Xbox 360. After seeing the whole team behind the 360 and what's being made - it's going to be a blast! Neon is just one more incentive to get the 360 but definately a huge one on my part! Chips are down for Xbox modder As reported on Online Blog and elsewhere, a 22-year-old Cambridge graduate has just become the first person to be convicted for modifying a games console - a crime that, however hard I try, I cannot imagine cropping up on Law... Jeff Minter vs Xbox 360: how Microsoft bought the light synth vis ion Jeff Minter is one of the videogame industry's true eccentrics - a man who has followed his own agenda for the last twenty years, even if that has meant going off in a completely different direction to everyone else (Tempest... Games at the NFT This weekend, the National Film Theatre will be hosting a videogame event celebrating the crossover between the film and interactive industries.